Want the Look of a Hardwood Floor Without the Expense?

Written by Michelle Roberts of ABC Flooring Center
Updated June 5, 2021
vinyl plank flooring in living room
Vinyl plank flooring is an affordable alternative to hardwood and provides strong resistance to scratching. (Photo courtesy of Angi member Janet R. of Alexandria, Va.)

Vinyl plank flooring can be a cost-efficient choice for active rooms in your home.

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Most homeowners appreciate the look of real hardwood flooring, but not everyone is as enthusiastic about the maintenance and potential for water damage that comes with it. 

These are only two of the many reasons that vinyl plank flooring is becoming a popular option for residential spaces. In addition to its low cost and durability, there are several things homeowners should consider when searching for the best vinyl plank flooring.

Related: 6 Options to Replace Flooring

Quality of vinyl plank flooring

The quality of various luxury vinyl plank products is dependent upon the thickness, wear surface and other factors. Thicknesses range from 2 millimeters on the low end to 6 millimeters for the styles that include a commercial warranty. 

The scuff- and stain-resistant options have a durable urethane wear layer, while lower-priced styles require the use of specialty cleaners that mimic a urethane finish with several applications. High quality brands can also offer ultraviolet stability to prevent fading, mold and mildew inhibitors and water-proof guarantees rather than water-resistant claims. These characteristics make it a great choice for beach houses and rental properties.

Installation of vinyl plank flooring

Vinyl plank floors can be installed by either floating or glue-down methods. Some styles offer self-adhesive strips that overlap, securing the planks to each other and creating a floating floor. 

Others click together and are installed like laminate flooring, which makes them a good option for do-it-yourselfers. Commercial-grade vinyl planks are typically glued down with pressure sensitive adhesives, similar to a sticky note, which makes them easy to replace if damaged. 

Advantages of vinyl plank flooring

For all the advantages that come with vinyl plank flooring, consumers are usually willing to spend more for styles that best resemble real hardwood. Textured surfaces, referred to as embossed and registered, have ridges that match the grain and knots of the wood species and look more realistic than smooth vinyl planks. 

It's also important to avoid cheaper brands that might repeat the same image several times within a carton. Using vinyl plank is a creative way to enjoy the look of softer woods like pine or maple without concern over denting. It's also an innovative way to add decorative finishes, like white-washed or weathered wood planks, to your home.

Related: Angi Guide to Vinyl and Linoleum Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring is a cost-efficient practical choice for rental properties and the more active rooms in your home. Be sure you consider the above factors when comparing pricing so you get the most for your money, and then take the time to check out several samples before making your final purchase.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of a story originally posted on Oct. 15, 2013.

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About this Angi Expert: Michelle Roberts is a salesperson with ABC Flooring Center, providing flooring installation and repair in Tallahassee, Florida. Locally owned and operated, ABC Flooring Center has specialized in hardwood, ceramic, laminate, carpet and vinyl flooring for more than 13 years.

As of June 5, 2015, this service provider was highly rated on Angi. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angi for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angi.

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